By Monica Woelfel
They have no mercy as they step in their high-heeled party shoes into the meadow. Dark-furred lips gather with expert care all the low-growing greens, heads nod; teeth crop. There are no rules to obey that their trembling hides don’t know. Nostrils open for the scent of dog, these come to relish how every leaf has a shape, size, texture specific to its heart of flavor: the waxy madrone, tart tiny bud of ocean spray, long palate-scratching tassels of fescue, tang of new purples, etiolated yellows, ceanothus, rose, strawberry tender as a tongue. What each plant provides is enough but no more, so lips and teeth take every twig, sepal, each fresh shoot, leave behind only the frail impression of a shrub. With mincing steps the insouciant diners move steadily downhill toward wilder snacks— salmonberry and salal, in the creek’s draw, where their cool-hooved passings become mere stippled alder shadows again and the pure beasts revert to dream, camouflaged imaginings, unlikely truths, still hungry.
Copyright Monica Woelfel 2010